Video interview: Caroline Palmer, Digital Development Clinical Lead at Leicestershire NHS

HTN had a quick chat, over video, with Caroline Palmer, Digital Development Clinical lead at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust – to find out her thoughts on who has helped shape her career in health tech, her ideal tech solutions and what she’s working on at the moment.

Who is the person who has most shaped your career in health tech and why?

“So I’ve thought about this a little bit,” explained Caroline, “and actually, I think it’s ‘people’ rather than ‘person’. Because I started the digital journey being a ‘digital nurse’ as such, through trying to support young people.

“So, I think, in terms of accessing services…we needed to move with the times in terms of healthcare and they were wanting to see that – they were wanting to engage in different ways.

“I remember when we first launched as a pilot. And actually, a young person contacted the service that had been struggling with mental health for about 18 months and hadn’t ever spoken to anybody. It was their way to access the service, a way to get help and support.

“That then was the biggest driver for me – and still is the biggest driver. Now it’s not just young people, it’s wider service users.”

“For me, it’s about [that] I can see the impact that it can have and the outcomes that tech can have for service users. Health tech can make it easier to engage, it can break down barriers, it can open doors for people to feel more comfortable to access support. So I think the service users themselves are the people…the reason that I get out of bed in the morning is because fo the impact that I know it can have and the outcomes that it can have,” she said.

“I think that will continue to be the reason that I’m engaged and the reason that I like working in health tech. Because, actually, there’s lots of different solutions for lots of different things. So there’s variety as well in this field.”

If you could have a tech solution for any part of healthcare, what would it be?

“I think there’s lots of things,” Caroline said, “early diagnosis, early interventions – things that affect you in your personal and professional life.”

“But I think,” she continued, “you could talk about cancer care, you could talk about long-term conditions, you could talk about general health and wellbeing…but for me it’s about early intervention – whether that be early diagnosis or people seeking support early on – and also about helping to empower people to take some ownership of their health, as well, and feel some control. To try and make the outcomes for them they best they can be. It’s tools that are focused around that.”

“There’s just so many different tools. I’ve been on a bit of a personal journey myself with healthcare and I just think that initial diagnosis or getting support – that initial part of your journey is really, really scary and really intense. For some cases it doesn’t get much better unfortunately,” she said.

“Breaking down those barriers, getting that diagnosis, getting that support is really, really important. So something around that or innovations around that are great.”

On what projects she’s working on at the moment, Caroline added: “We have a suite of products really, but they all really complement each other…[like] our chat health messaging service.”

Watch Caroline’s full chat below: